Lips take a lot of abuse, but they lack the protection that the rest of our skin enjoys. They have no oil or sweat glands, and they’re constantly exposed to irritants: the tip of the tongue, our food and drinks, environmental pollutants, the weather and much more.
Think of your lips as a sponge. “When exposed to moisture, they absorb water and plump up. When dehydrated, they dry out and shrink,” explains Bruce Bart, M.D., a dermatologist at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. And, because they’re always exposed, they’re prone to dehydration, particularly during the cold, windy winter months. The skin on the lips is also unlike skin anywhere else on the body: It’s thinner (allowing the blood vessels to be visible, making the lips look red) and has no oil glands (oil acts as a barrier for skin, helping to protect it from the elements). The result can be red, rough (and sometimes painful), chapped lips that couldn’t hold lipstick color if you spray-painted it on.
Our lips need just as much care as the rest of our skin — if not more but despite everything they do for us, our lips are often overlooked or downright neglected. Care techniques are same for men and woman, here are a few of them:
NO LICKING LIPS:
A lot of our habits can lead to lip dryness, soreness and irritation. Licking your lips feels great. It cools them down – but it also makes your problem much worse. Your saliva evaporates quickly, leaving them drier than before, and the enzymes that help your saliva clean your mouth and digest food are much too harsh for your lips.
STAY PRECARIOUS WITH WHO YOU KISS:
Be a bit more discerning when it comes to sharing your lips, too. It might sound obvious, but don’t kiss anyone with a sore or infection on the mouth or face. Viruses, fungi and bacteria can easily enter cracks in the lips’ thin skin.
EAT A HEALTHY DIET:
Your lips are dependent on a steady intake of vitamins and minerals, so stick to healthy, nutrient-dense foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Vitamins B and E are especially important for healthy lips and skin.
NEVER WEAR LIPSTICK TO BED:
Before going to bed, you must clean your lips with a damped cotton ball. For cleaning you can use plain water or some makeup remover or cream.
DON’T PEEL OFF DEAD SKIN:
Do not make the mistake of peeling off the skin of chapped and dry lips. The skin on your lips is very delicate and pull off the skin can cause the blood to come out. First apply cream or petroleum jelly to make the skin soft and then with the help of a damp cotton ball remove the dry skin from your lips gently.
Exfoliate when necessary. Lip exfoliators (products that contain fruit-acid-based alpha or beta hydroxy acids) slough off dead skin — much like the ones you’d use on your face, says New York dermatologist Dennis Gross, M.D. “But if you have sensitive skin or your lips are severely chapped or cracked, use these products cautiously (no more than once weekly) as they do contain acids that can irritate skin,” says Gross.
If you can’t afford a lip exfoliator a simple trick is when you brush your teeth at morning, rub your lips also softly with your brush. It removes the dry skin from the lips. So, your lips look fresh and impurities free.
Don’t make matte forever. Matte lipsticks can be extremely drying (which helps these lipsticks stay put for so long). That’s why you should use them sparingly when your lips are extremely chapped. Instead, alternate use of them with hydrating lipsticks (as indicated by ingredients like vitamin E and/or glycerin) or add a layer of moisturizing lip balm underneath.
USING THE RIGHT LIP BALM:
- Look for a product with a base of beeswax, petroleum jelly or paraffin. These seal in moisture and won’t evaporate as quickly as thinner balms or glosses. Look for hydrating ingredients like shea butter, vitamin E and almond, jojoba or coconut oils.
- Some balms are deceiving, containing ingredients that dry out your lips even more. Salicylic acid, the miracle worker in acne medication, is one such culprit. Menthol and camphor, though soothing, can also cause issues. Stay away from fragrances and silicone, which also sap moisture.
- Coconut oil has found to be amazing for healing dry and cracked lips. Just rub a little on my lips once you get out of the shower each morning and night. Let it sit for a moment, and it will be quickly absorbed into your lips. Coconut oil contains the healing ingredients that help any cracked lips repair themselves more efficiently than those cheap, toxic lip balm products will.
- Lips are susceptible to sunburn since they lack melanin, the pigment that helps shield skin from the sun. Hence either use sunscreen separately on your lips or buy a balm that protects your from the sun. Always apply a lip balm that has sunscreen in it before putting on your lipstick. This will help your lipstick to stay for longer time and your lips will remain well moisturized.
- Use some oil and massage your lips very gently for five to ten minutes daily. It will improve the blood circulation and make your lips look healthier. If possible try to massage your lips at night so that it will remain soft all time next day.
HOW TO USE MOISTURIZER:
Get some moisturizer (the thicker the better). After you’ve brushed your teeth at night, put the moisturizer on your lips, rubbing it on them and a little bit around your mouth until you can’t see it. Then, get some more and dab a thick layer onto your lips so your lips look white (the color of the moisturizer). Leave it on overnight, and during the night it will soak into your lips and dry, leaving them smooth, soft and perfect. Also, if you don’t want to use moisturizer, you can apply a thick layer of Vaseline/petroleum jelly to your lips before you go to sleep.
- For extremely irritated lips, aloe Vera is a good ingredient. This plant’s soothing properties are often used to heal sensitive sunburns, and it’s also safe to ingest. Sunscreen is also crucial, even in winter.